Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Save Ohio Libraries rally at downtown Cleveland Public Library

We'll let the pictures do most of the talking on this one. Above is the scene as it looked from the top of the steps of Cleveland Public Library on Superior Avenue Wednesday morning ... and that's only looking one way.

Here's looking the other ...

That's Don Boozer, the KnowItNow24X7 Coordinator for Cleveland Public Library holding the flag. No, he didn't pose for this picture. I don't think.

So there they were, lined up on both sides of the street in front of CPL. I'd estimate at least 500 people there, but I'm always way under when it comes to guessing the amount of jellybeans in the jar in those contests to win a new car, so there might have been even more.

They came to hear these guys, directors of libraries all across northeast Ohio. There was Felton Thomas, new director of Cleveland Public Library, who gave a fantastic speech. There was Ken Warren of Lakewood Public Library, who sounded like he was ready for 25 more years of fighting for libraries despite his impending retirement party the same evening. is still trying to save Ohio's libraries with a retirement party scheduled for tonight. There was Donna Perdzock of my own Euclid Public Library. There was Nancy Levin of Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library. There were directors from Sandusky, from Bellevue, from Huron, from Medina, from Mentor, and from many more. There were even puppets, courtesy of Kingsville Public Library director Mariana Branch and one of her library employees, whose name I unfortunately didn't get.

The media was there:

I saw WJW Fox 8, WKYC Channel 3, WTAM 1100-AM radio, WKSU 89.7-FM radio, WERE 1490-AM radio, The Plain Dealer, and Cleveland Magazine represented. There were probably more. I even got a pretty good quote into the Cleveland Magazine reporter's blog. Click on any of the media outlet's names to find the story they've already posted.

And then the signs. Ooooooooooooooh, the signs ...

After the rally, a bunch of us walked a couple blocks to the Crowne Plaza Hotel on St. Clair and East 6th thinking that Governor Strickland was going to be there at 11:30 a.m. ...

Alas, we had the wrong information. Gov. Strickland is scheduled to be there July 24, not June 24. But here's something cool. See that awesome green sign? That's held by Stephanie Hall, who has recently joined Blackstone Audio as a sales rep. I buy some of Euclid Public Library's audiobooks from her. She lives in Warren and drove all the way to Cleveland to support the state's libraries. She plans on going to Columbus for Thursday's rally.

No one talks about the ancillary businesses that will be affected if the state's library budget is slashed in half. Euclid Public Library orders from Blackstone, Recorded Books, Playaway, Baker & Taylor, Midwest, Quality Books, Unique Books, Tantor Audio, Books on Tape, Ingram -- and those are the ones that I can name off the top of my head. What happens to these companies and all their employees if library funding vanishes? It's more than librarians who have a stake in this.

If you want to see some more pictures, go to Flickr. You'll find mine at that link, and even more (and dare I say better) ones from Michael Dalby and from Cleveland Public Library itself.

And make sure you check out Cleveland Public Library's YouTube videos from the rally.


  1. Mike:

    It's just hearsay right now because I didn't personally hear the interview but apparently Strickland did an interview on WLW radio today and said librarians are exaggerating the impact of the budget cuts and being "manipulative and disingenious". We are, apparently, blowing things way out of proportion. While it angers me, it doesn't shock me that he's saying this...he's already shot himself in the foot with this proposal and I'm sure his PR people are having heart attacks at this point.

  2. I find it unfortunate that the Plain Dealer played up the "fact" that many, if not most, of the rally attendees were CPL employees. Don't know how the PD reporter made that determination, but it true, that doesn't help our message in the least. I would also respectfully suggest that the admin. at CPL made an incredible error in judgment by closing the library so employees could attend. Very, very wrong message!

  3. The PD guy asked myself and a colleague how many were there from our library. We had seven. I am on vacation. Our community relations person and her assistant were two others. Our director was the fourth. Then we had two from HR/payroll and the head of technical services. None of those people work in public service and can be away. They also represent less than 10% of our workforce.

    I agree that CPL should not have closed for this. People should have used their break time.